The NBA has sent a memo to its teams outlining the procedure for getting players to Orlando who aren’t able to travel on the team charter, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. Any player who misses a COVID-19 test in the two days before the departure date or who has “extenuating circumstances” that the league is aware of will be required to arrange his own travel.
Options include a charter flight at the player’s expense, flying commercial, or traveling by car. Players who fly privately or drive will have to register negative results on two coronavirus tests before beginning basketball activities at Walt Disney World. Players who opt for commercial flights will need three negative test results.
All 22 teams involved in the restart are scheduled to arrive in Orlando on staggered schedules from Tuesday through Thursday. The NBA requires players who have contracted the virus to quarantine and then have two negative tests before they are cleared to travel with their teams, so those who tested positive in the last week will be excluded from those flights. Andrews notes that the Heat and Nuggets have both recently experienced multiple positive tests among their traveling parties.
There’s more news relating to the restart:
- Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is among the doubters that the venture in Orlando will be successful. Appearing on a podcast with TNT broadcast partner Ernie Johnson, Barkley cast doubt that the NBA will be able to crown a champion. “I don’t think we got any chance of finishing this thing,” he said. “That hurts because I know a lot of people that would lose their jobs and would be affected going forward. … I just don’t see how we can go three months – the chances of us going three months and not having an outbreak – I just think that is impossible.”
- Mark Medina of USA Today talked to several players and coaches about resuming the season and found a lot of concern about health and safety. “My confidence ain’t great because you’re telling me you’re going to have 22 teams full of players following all the rules?” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. “When we have 100% freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules. I don’t have much confidence.”
- Pre-recorded crowd noise is one approach several leagues are taking to make their games feel more realistic, writes Joe Reedy of The Associated Press. The NBA has talked to 2K Sports about using its sound library when play resumes.